How to get a refugee travel document in Canada.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

This step-by-step guide will help you get your Canadian Refugee Travel Document or Certificate of Identity. We have taken the government instructions and simplified them for you!

Application for Refugee Travel Document – Let’s start…

First step: click the link below and download the application and follow our steps. 

Adult Travel Document Application – PPTC 190 for 16 years and older

Child Travel Document Application – PPTC 192 for 16 years and younger

Additional documents you may need:

Lost, stolen or damaged Travel Document – PPTC 203

Complete the Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor – Pick up in person at the nearest Passport Canada office

IMM 5562 – Must use if applying for the first Travel Document and your home country’s passport has been taken away by Immigration Canada or CBSA.


Did you know Immigroup offers a paid service for Travel Document Applications? We can do the following:

Fill out the application
Make sure everything is perfectly in order & not rejected
Troubleshoot and answer all your questions

To learn more, click here.


Section 1: Refugee travel document personal information – PPTC 190 or 192

Most things in this section are straightforward, but two issues that people get stuck on are:

What is a UCI?

You can find this on your immigration documents (for example: Record of Landing paper). It will be 8 to 10 digits with one or two hyphens (-) in the middle of the number. UCI (Unique Client Identifier) is just your client identification number: the number that IRCC uses to identify you in your dealings with them.

PPTC190, 1 Personal informaiotn

Anticipated date of Travel: How can I get a Refugee Travel Document Urgently?

To get a travel document expedited, you will need to show proof of urgency. Not all urgencies are treated the same by IRCC. Here are the best to worst urgent reasons.

Note: IRCC states in their instructions in section A, ‘We recommend that you not finalize your travel plans until you receive the requested travel document.’ This may seem like good advice, but if you are thinking of simply requesting urgency or typing up a letter, this will, in most cases, not work.  You must show proof to increase your odds of success. As you’ll see below, any letter has to come from somewhere like a hospital or an employer and be on their official letterhead, written (and preferably signed) by an official of that organization. You’ll often need additional proof as you’ll see in the following table.


Rating Urgency Reson of Urgency Proof Documets you need
High Death in the family Death certificate, a letter from Hospital or a funeral invitation. Remember you can’t return to your home country if you claimed refugee protection.
Your letter must be on official hospital letterhead.
High Medical Treatment Letter from Hospital Letterhead
Date you are expected
Cost of treatment, including invoice.
High Loss of employment – for example, your new job requires you to travel.  Letter from employer Letterhead
The date you started the job.
Your job description (must include the fact that travel is required)
Employers’ contact info
Medium to low Business Letter from an employer, or letter from a business client you are visiting, or an invoice or booking confirmation of a convention you are attending.  Letterhead
Date and Times you are expected.
Contact info of the employer or business client.
Medium to low Visiting elderly family members Letter from a doctor stating the poor health of the family members Letterhead
Medical conditions of the family member
Contact info of the doctor 
Low Vacation Invoice or booking confirmation invoice or booking

Note: All documents not in English or French will need to be translated by a certified translator. 

Section 2: Declaration of Guarantor – PPTC 190 or 192

It’s hard enough to find a guarantor that will give you the time, so make sure you have everything ready for them. (See the example below).

Your guarantor will need to sign the following:

  • Fill out section 2 of the application form. Remember, they must have known you for at least 6 months.
  • On the back of one of your passport photos, they must write, I certify this to be a true likeness of (your name).”
  • They must sign their name on all supporting documents, front and back.

For more information about this subject, or If you can’t find a guarantor, read below:   

Refugee Travel Document - 2 Declaration of guarantor

What are the guarantor requirements

  • Lives in Canada,
  • is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada
  • and has known you for at least 6 months or more.


Must be one of the following occupations and still work or be licensed in their field.


nurse practitioner

dentist, medical doctor or chiropractor

principal of a primary or secondary school

senior administrator or teacher in a university

professional accountant

minister of religion authorized under provincial or territorial law to perform marriages





notary public

professional engineer (P. Eng. or Ing. in Quebec)

senior administrator in a community college (in Quebec, a CEGEP)

judge, magistrate, or police officer

lawyer or notary in Quebec

If you don’t have a guarantor, what to do?

This option does not require the person to have known you.

  • Complete the Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor form. The form is not available online and must be:
    • In Canada: Pick up at the nearest Passport Service Location, or you can contact Passport Canada at this link to request they send a copy to you.
    • In the US: Pick up at the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate, or you can contact Passport Canada at the same link.
    • Outside Canada and the US: contact your nearest Canadian embassy or consulate.
  • Must be filled out by:
  • Notary Public
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Commissioner for oaths
  • (Outside of Canada) Canadian or British diplomat. A local member of parliament or civil servant (government official) is also suggested. Check with the Canadian embassy or consulate if a local notary or lawyer is acceptable.

Important: The person you used to fill out your Lieu of Guarantor CAN’T be your same reference.

IRCC’s web page states that you can’t use the same references on the Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor form that you included on your passport or travel document application. In other words, if you have already used a guarantor for your passport application, you’ll have to find another guarantor for your Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor form.

The government statement does not really make sense for your travel document, seeing that if you have a guarantor for your travel document you don’t need a Statutory Declaration. 

Section 3: Proof of Immigration Status in Canada – PPTC 190 or 192

Here is an excellent example from the IRCC website. If you need help finding your immigration status document number, click here.

Here are the steps:

  1. Fill out the section below
  2. Make copies of your immigration documents. Remember, your guarantor will need to sign the front and the back of the documents. You can send the original, and no signature is required, but this is not recommended.

Section 3, immigration status in Canada section for the Canadian Refugee Travel Document application

Required Identity documents

An official translator/translation company must professionally translate any documents that are not in English or French. Look for a stamp or seal with a membership number of a professional translation association in Canada or abroad. If the seal or stamp is not in English or French, it must also be translated. 

  • A copy of an original document signed by your guarantor
  • If you have: a valid passport or travel document issued in your name
  • 2 Passport photos (Go to a professional passport photo location) *
  • On the back of one of the photos, your guarantor needs to write the following statement, “I certify this to be a true likeness of (your name).”
  • The photographer will need to indicate the company address and date on the back of the photos (this usually is done by the photographer’s business stamp).
  • Phot size will be 50 mm wide by 70 mm high (2 inches wide by 2¾ inches high).
  • Please note: A small number of photos do get refused.

Additional Documents you may need.

  • Change of name document
  • Replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged travel document – PPTC 203
  • Change of sex application – This is a provincial jurisdiction, and the relevant application for your province can be found online.

Note: If you are filing a refugee claim and your home country’s passport is taken away from you at your port of entry by Immigration Canada or CBSA, the official will fill out form BSF 698 if the document seized is a Travel Document or Identity Document, or form IMM 5265 for other documents. The official is then required to provide you with a copy of the form they have filled out. Your passport will be scanned and digitally uploaded to the government’s Global Case Management System (GCMS).

  • This is done when there are concerns about the legitimacy of your refugee claim.

Section 4: Previous Canadian Travel Document – PPTC 190 or 192

You will have to return your old travel document.

Note: if you have a valid visa, you can request that your old travel document be returned. You will have to indicate this request in a letter.

section 4 of PPTC 190 Previous Canadiain Travel Document

FAQ – Section 4

I am renewing my Refugee Travel Document; will I get the old one back?

You need to make a formal request to have your Travel Document returned. For most people, this request is made because your old Travel Document or Certificate of Identity still has a valid visa in it.

When should I renew my Travel Document or Certificate of Identity?

We recommend applying 6 to 9 months before expiration, but you can apply 12 months before.

Tip: If you still have a valid visa in your current travel document, you can request to have the old document returned.

I have an expired Travel document or Certificate of Identity; do I still need to return it?

All documents must be returned unless they have expired over 5 years.

I have lost my old, expired travel document; what do I do?

You must fill out a lost passport application PPTC 203

Section 5: Citizenship and Travel Documentation – PPTC 190 or 192

Do you have valid travel documents or passports?

The reason they are asking you this is because Refugee Travel Documents are for people that can’t use their home country’s passport. If you are still in possession of a valid passport, you will need to give it up and mail it in with this application.

Have you visited another country since you entered Canada?

If you have travelled, list all dates. if you need more room to put all dates, click to download the document here and attach this to your application.

Section 5 Citizenship and Travel Documentation

Section 6: Documents to Support Identity – PPTC 190 or 192

Section 6 of the Application PPTC 190 Documents to Support Identity

You need to have an ID that:

1) has a photo,

2) has your signature, and

3) is valid (Date hasn’t expired).

  • It can be a Provincial or Federal ID.
  • It’s recommended that the ID is issued in Canada, but you can use IDs from other countries (for example, a driver’s license from your home country)

Here are the steps:

  1. You will need one ID. This ID must have a photo of you, and your signature and not be expired. The best document to use is a provincial Driver’s License (for alternative solutions, read below).
  2. Make a colour copy of this document front and back.
  3. Your guarantor will have to sign and date the front and back of each copy of your ID. Note: Your guarantor will have to verify the original ID with the copies, so bring everything with you.

Note: You can send original documents, but we don’t recommend this option.

What if you don’t have an ID with a photo?

If you don’t have any ID that meets the above requirements, you can apply for a Provincial ID card. Most provinces in Canada have one. See our list below.


Province Name of the Card & URL Cost*
Alberta ID Card $49
British Columbia B.C. identification Card (BCID) $35
Manitoba Manitoba Identification Card $20
New Brunswick Photo ID Card $48
Newfoundland & Labrador Photo ID Card $25
Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Photo ID card $17.70
Ontario Ontario Photo Card $35
Prince Edward Island Voluntary ID $50
Saskatchewan Photo ID Card Free

*Some provinces may waive the fee for refugees.

Last resort, you can send in a combination of a few documents, but you will need to check with the IRCC call center to ensure these documents will be excepted. 

Section 7: Additional Personal Information – PPTC 190 or 192

Here you just need to give your address and work history for the last two years.

Section 7 pf PPTC 190 application. Additional Personal Information

Section 8: Refernces – PPTC 190 or 192

You will now need to find two people who have known you for at least 6 months, or more.  

Tip: Find two people that will always pick up their phones during the daytime. The Passport Program call center will call a few times but if your references don’t answer the phone then at some point, they will simply give up and your application can be put on hold or returned to you.

Note: Ask your references to let you know when the call came in, because at this stage of the application process, this usually means you are close to getting your Travel Document.

Section 8 of PPCT 190 application. References

Section 9: Emergency Contac – PPTC 190 or 192

This is in case you have an emergency while traveling. Always a good idea to have someone close to you listed here. If you don’t have anyone in Canada, you can put family or friends from outside of Canada.

Last Step: Review and Send to the government 

  • Two Passport Photos
  • Colour copy of proof of immigration status in Canada – signed and dated by guarantor
  • Copies of ID, front and back – signed and dated by guarantor
  • Original Travel Document – if applicable
  • Proof of urgency – If applicable
  • Canada Post Xpresspost package (keep tracking info)


Centralized Network – Certificate of Identity Section

Place du Centre,

Commercial Level 2

200 Promenade du Portage

Gatineau QC

J8X 4B7


Tip: if you are applying for urgent reason, then on the outside of the envelope write in big letters “URGENT”.

How to Track and communicate about your application?

This question usually gives most people the most frustration. Getting through, getting a non-templated answer from the government is not easy. What seems to work is persistence, so keep reaching out through the different channels we have listed below. 

You have 2 options in tracking or contacting: 

  1. Webfrom click here (Recommended)
  2. Calling IRCC’s call center at 1-888-242-2100 (difficult getting through) 

Note: Calling Passport Canada 1-800-567-6868, will not work. 


Did you know Immigroup offers a paid service for Travel Document Applications? We can do the following:

Fill out the application
Make sure everything is perfectly in order & not rejected
Troubleshoot and answer all your questions

To learn more, click here.



What is a Refugee Travel Document?

This document is issued to Protected Persons in Canada (Refugees) or persons in need of protection.

What is a Certificate of Identity?

This document is issued to Permanent Residents of Canada that meet one of the following:

  • Not Protected Persons
  • Are Stateless
  • Can’t get a passport or travel document for their home country

What is the definition of “Persons in need of protection”: According to the IRPA a protected person is someone who is given the protections afforded a convention refugee but not may not fit the Geneva Convention’s legal definition of a convention refugee.

Protected person

(2) A protected person is a person on whom refugee protection is conferred under subsection (1), and whose claim or application has not subsequently been deemed to be rejected under subsection 108(3), 109(3) or 114(4).

Will I get a Travel Document or Certificate of Identity?  

If you are a refugee and are now a protected person in Canada, you will get a Refugee Travel Document. If you are stateless or not a protected person, you will get a Certificate of Identity.

Which Document allows me to travel more?

A travel document is better because more countries give the holder visa-free travel.

What are the limitations of these documents?

  • It can’t be used to travel back to your country of citizenship (The country you claimed you needed protection from).
  • Visa may be required. Once you get your document, you will need to contact each country you wish to travel to.

People that are eligible for Travel Documents or a Certificate of Identity

What are Convention Refugees:

What are Protected Persons: 

What are Stateless Persons: 

What are Permanent Residents of Canada in Special Circumstances:

Who issues Canadian Travel Documents? 

All documents are created in Gatineau, Quebec, by Passport Canada. The location where they make the passport is 210 Rue Champlain, Gatineau, QC J8X 3R5. It is officially called the Gatineau-Hull Service Canada Centre and Passport Services. IRCC is responsible for the processing, and Passport Canada creates the document.

How long is a Travel Document or Certificate of Identity valid?

Travel Document or Certificate of Identity: Typically, for 5 years but they can sometimes be valid for only 1 year.

Certificate of Identity issued in Canada: Typically, it’s issued for 1 year or more. 

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Can I get a Travel Document outside of Canada?

Travel Documents are issued inside of Canada. In case of an emergency outside of Canada, you will need to contact a Canadian Diplomatic Mission (Embassy or Consulate) outside of Canada. Click here for the entire directory.

What age do I have to be to apply for a Travel Document?

You can be of any age. There are applications for adults (16 years and older) and children (15 years or younger).

Travel Document or Certificate of Identity for children.

Any parent can apply. You will need one of the following documents to prove you are the parent:

  • The child’s Long Form Birth Certificate (this certificate will have the child’s information and parents on it. This is not the short form birth certificate).
  • The child’s Adoption Order showing the name of both the child and the adoptive parent.
  • The parent’s passport as long as the child is listed on the parent’s passport.

If Separated or Divorced:

  • Divorce papers showing custody of the child or other legal document detailing any custody arrangements for the child.

Child’s legal guardian:

  • Proof of legal guardianship


What is the immigration status document number?

Most immigration documents will have a document number usually located in the upper right-hand corner of the document. It helps the issuing authority keep track of the documents they issue.

Where do I find the Date of issue and date of expiry?

It depends on the document.

  • On your Refugee Travel Document – if it’s in the form of a card it will be on the front near your photo. If it’s in the form of a passport (the Blue Passport) you will find that information on the inside near the beginning.
  • On your Permanent Resident card, they don’t have a Date of Issue, but they do have a Date of Expiry located on front of the card in the lower middle section.
  • On your Temporary Resident Permit, your date of issue and expiry date are located below your name on the upper right-hand side.

What countries can I travel to with my Refugee Travel Document or Certificate of Identity?

Most countries will require a vis. Refugee Travel Documents is not a Canadian passport and will come with limitations.

In most cases, after you have gotten your Travel Document will need to apply for a visa to the country you are planning to travel to.

Here are the steps to take:

*see below for visa-free countries

Contact the Embassy of the countries you plan to travel to. Here is the complete list of all Diplomatic Missions in Canada.

  • You must ask if a Canadian Travel Document holder is visa-free or requires a visa.
  • If visa-free, what are the rules or limitations (for example, 90 days visa-free)
  • If the visa is required:
  • What application needs to be filled out – and where to find it?
  • Processing timelines and costs
  • Documents they will need from you (for example, banking information, Hotel addresses or booking confirmation).

Visa-free countries for a Canadian Refugee Travel Document or Certificate of Identity.

The Geneva Convention of 1951 established the status of refugees and the protections that should be given to them. Some, but not most, of the countries that signed the convention allow visa-free travel for refugees with a travel document.

  • Armenia
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • Vatican City

Can I use the eTA program with my Travel Document?

It depends.

  • If you’re travelling to Canada on a refugee travel document issued abroad, you cannot apply for an eTA. Instead, you will need a Visitor Visa.
  • If you have a Canadian refugee travel document, you are exempt from both visa and eTA travel requirements when travelling to Canada. However, other countries may still require a visa.
  • If you are a refugee with lawful permanent resident status in the US, but without a passport, you can still travel to Canada visa-free if you have your I-571 (US Refugee Travel Document) and proof of your lawful permanent resident status. 

Do Canadian Refugee travel document holders need a visa if travelling to the United States?

Yes, you must apply for a visa to visit the US.

I am eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. Should I still apply for a Travel Document?

You should apply for both. Your Canadian citizenship will take time, but once you get it, you can apply for a Canadian Passport and return your Travel Document. 

What is the fee for a Canadian Travel Document?

The fee for a Canadian Travel Document is CDN$120. If you are replacing a lost or stolen document, an additional $45 will apply. Most of the above fees are non-refundable ($25 is refundable).

What is the fee for a Certificate of Identity?

The fee for a Certificate of Identity is CDN$260. If you are replacing a lost or stolen document, an additional $45 will apply. Most of the above fees are non-refundable ($25 is refundable).

How do you pay the government fee?

  • Use a major credit card – section D of the application
  • Certified cheque, money order (Canada Post or Bank). Payments for Travel Documents or Certificate of Intensity must be made to Receiver General for Canada.

What is the mailing address? 

Courier with tracking: Recommended (Keep tracking information – Use Canada Post or any major courier company)

Centralized Network – Certificate of Identity Section

Place du Centre,

Commercial Level 2

200 Promenade du Portage

Gatineau QC 

J8X 4B7  


Regular Mailing:



K1G 5G8


How to Contact Passport Program for additional questions?

  1. Walk into a Passport Canada Service Center (Go to Google maps, type ‘Passport Canada near me’ or Click here).
  2. To use the webform click here
  3. You will need to contact IRCC for tracking and general information at 1-888-242-2100

Calling Passport Canada will not work: Toll-free call 1-800-567-6868 – from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, Easter Standard Time.

If you do call Passport Canada, this will be the message, “Certificate of Identity and Refugee Travel Documents should now be directed to IRCC Client Support Center.”

I sent my application, but I changed my address; what should I do?

Contact the IRCC call center. See the section, ‘How to track and communicate about your application?’ on this web page located just above the FAQ section.


Did you know Immigroup offers a paid service for Travel Document Applications? We can do the following:

Fill out the application
Make sure everything is perfectly in order & not rejected
Troubleshoot and answer all your questions

To learn more, click here.


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